Obligations quasi ex delicto and Strict Liability in Roman Law
31 Journal of Legal History (2010), pp. 1-20
26 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2012 Last revised: 16 Jun 2013
Date Written: January 19, 2012
The meaning of the Gaian-Justinianic division of obligations arising from unlawful events into obligations ex delicto and quasi ex delicto has long been a puzzle for Romanists. The strict liability theory, which understands ‘quasi-delicts’ as examples of situational wrongs, defined independently of fault, was first aired in the 1940s but has never gained widespread support. The case of the iudex qui litem suam facit was regarded as a stumbling block for the theory. The present article aims to make a new and systematic case for strict liability as the basis of the quasi-delictal category and argues that, in the light of archaeological discoveries which have forced us to reconsider our understanding of the judge’s liability, we can now have a coherent picture of Roman quasi-delictal liability as liability even without fault.
Keywords: Roman law, quasi-delicts, obligations quasi ex delicto, liability of the judge, iudex qui litem suam facit, Gaius, Justinian
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